Since its inception in 2014, Kind Folk, comprised of trumpeter/flugelhornist John Raymond, alto saxophonist Alex LoRe, bassist Noam Wiesenberg, and drummer Colin Stranahan, has endured against all odds to create poignant, thoughtful music.
After a series of impromptu sessions in a small Brooklyn apartment followed by a string of performances in New York, the group recorded and released their debut album “Why Not” on Fresh Sound Records in 2018. Being called “a new jazz supergroup” (Something Else), the album was praised by critics as “a selfless statement of the highest order” (All About Jazz). Following the release, the band underwent significant changes. Raymond accepted the position of Professor of Jazz Trumpet at Indiana University and relocated from New York to Bloomington, Indiana. Shortly after, Stranahan moved temporarily to his hometown Denver, Colorado. With the ensemble split between New York and the Midwest, and the COVID-19 pandemic keeping performing opportunities at bay, the band’s future seemed bleak. But Kind Folk was undeterred, and they began planning for their next opportunity to create together.
The group reconvened in New York for a week in June 2021. Each of the musicians contributed new compositions to rehearsals in Wiesenberg’s apartment, picking up seamlessly where they left off. After recording the music the following day and mixing and mastering the album a few days later, a new artistic statement for the group was documented. Their new album, “Head Towards The Center,” explores a reflection of themes born out of the changing tides the global pandemic brought: longing, joy, heartache, and hope. Beyond this, the album showcases the resilience of the group and their tenacity to continue creating despite their collective circumstances. More than ever, it’s clear that the whole of Kind Folk is greater than the sum of its parts.
Trumpet and flugelhornist John Raymond is “steering jazz in the right direction” (Downbeat). He has released six albums under his own name to critical acclaim, and has performed with musicians such as Billy Hart, Orrin Evans, Gilad Hekselman, Cory Wong, S. Carey and more. John is the Professor of Jazz Trumpet at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, recently wrote and released “The Jazz Trumpet Routine” method book, and is the creator and host of the podcast “The Trumpet Summit” where he talks shop with other master jazz trumpeters.
Alex LoRe has been praised by The New York Times as a saxophonist who is “making the connections among about 70 years’ worth of contemplative, articulate and light–toned players.” He has released three albums of his own and is a sideman on over two dozen releases, including Marta Sanchez, Lucas Pino, Yuhan Su, Alex Goodman, and others. He recently published an adaptation of JS Bach’s “The Goldberg Variations” for saxophone and teaches at the New School College of Performing Arts in New York.
Bassist Noam Wiesenberg has worked with artists such as Antonio Sanchez, Melissa Aldana, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Lage Lund, Ben Wendel, Chano Dominguez, and Shai Maestro among others. He has been a frequent performer at jazz festivals including Jazz in Marciac, the Newport Jazz Festival, Monterey Jazz Festival, Chicago Jazz Festival, SFJazz Festival, and the North Sea Jazz Festival. He has also composed critically acclaimed arrangements for Camila Meza’s Nectar Orchestra, Ari Hoenig’s Nonet, and multiple arrangements for the Metropole Orkest, and he released his debut recording “Roads Diverge” in 2018.
Colin Stranahan has been one of the most in-demand drummers of his generation. After being a finalist in the 2012 Thelonious Monk Drum Competition, he has performed in recent years with the likes of Kurt Rosenwinkel, Terence Blanchard, Fred Hersch, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Jonathan Kreisberg, and many others. He has recorded on over 75 albums with artists around the world. Colin is also an active educator, teaching drum masterclasses and private lessons to students around the world.